Lime Scooter Limitations

Lime and Bird scooters litter the streets of Isla Vista. Popular delivery services like Duffl and Snag use scooters to transport orders. Late on a Friday night, friends — two (even three) at a time — mount these scooters for the last stretch between them and Deja Vu Cafe. 

E-scooters seem to represent an easy and environmentally conscious form of transportation but, naturally, the rise of the e-scooter means less physical activity, such as walking or biking. 

Trisalyn Nelson, who is the Jack and Laura Dangermond endowed chair of geography at UC Santa Barbara, conducts research concerning active transportation and spatial ecology. 

Late last month, ScienceDirect’s Journal of Transport & Health published research by Nelson; Rebecca L. Sanders of Safe Streets Research & Consulting, LLC; and Vanessa da Silva Brum-Bastos, who is affiliated with Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences in Poland. The paper shares insights that use biometric data to reveal the impacts that shared e-scooter use has on physical activity, specifically in Phoenix, Arizona. 

The data revealed that when e-scooter use was allowed, it inordinately affected the rate at which people walked or cycled. 

However, when e-scooter use was not allowed, people overwhelmingly defaulted to automobile transportation — nearly 89%. 

According to the authors, this data seemed to indicate that people value e-scooters because they perceive them as fun and affordable, and this appeared to reduce the number of people who engage in physically active travel. 


Mariculture Amid Climate Change

With more people comes a higher demand for resources, especially food. According to a paper — first-authored by Christopher M. Free and involving other researchers at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science Management and Marine Science Institute — the demand for seafood production could be hindered by rapid climate change and our responses to it. 

Given the expectation that 10 billion people will populate the Earth by 2100 and that there will be an increase in wealth and demand in specific areas of the world, such as Africa or Asia, the researchers studied the effects that climate change and increased human consumption will have on ocean-based food systems. 

In the paper, they point out that the ocean supplies 17% of global meat despite occupying 75% of the Earth. 

The rate at which the climate is changing critically impacts the distribution of fish in the ocean and the mariculture industry’s ability to address the imminent increase in demand. 

The forecasts completed by the researchers were created via “projections of human population growth, marine fisheries production and mariculture production” based on bioeconomic models and current production outcomes. 

Two scenarios were forecasted: one in which the industry continues to forage fish as it currently is and another where more progressive reforms are implemented into fishery management. 

Based on this data, the research breaks down the ambitious but necessary reforms to mariculture practices that are required to lower environmental impact while contributing to food demand. 


Social Cues of Status

Researcher Noa Dukler and assistant professor Zoe Liberman, both of the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at UCSB, were recently published for their research on American children’s inference of social status based on race. 

During their developmental stage, children learn to use physical and social cues to place those they perceive within a social hierarchy. 

Dukler and Liberman state in their paper that many societies link race to social status as a result of inequalities in the past, as well as those that continue to prevail. 

They conducted a study that investigates whether children employ race as a sign of social status, as well as the credence they find in race as a social cue when they are faced with other contrasting cues. 

The authors chose posture as a contrasting cue to compare with race, first asking children to rate individuals as “in charge” based on race, then posture and then, in the third study, race and posture. 

Based on the data, the researchers provided evidence that children expect white people to be in charge in comparison with Black people, suggesting that children, both white and those of color, have learned the racial structure by which many gauge their status in society. 

The second study also showed that children expected dominant posers to be in charge. When faced with both cues at the same time, they relied more on posture than race to determine social status.